Veganism and privilege: A Vegansaurus editorial »
We had a post the other day about veggies being cheaper than people acknowledged, and it garnered some responses that called it insensitive to greater structures of food politics. We know the cost of food isn’t the sole determiner in the diet of many people, but the fact remains that many people think veganism is expensive because fruits and veggies are more expensive than non-vegan food.
That post brings to light studies that have shown that veggies are actually not expensive when compared to other foods. It didn’t say that everyone can walk to the corner and buy vegetables. The studies simply show that veggies are actually more affordable then they are made out to be. If we don’t have that information, we can’t move on to discuss what does make vegetables unaffordable or inaccessible.
When someone writes in response to that post that “this is (a big part of) why I am done with vegansaurus and the main(er)stream veg* activism framework,” it troubles us. It makes us think that you’re not reading the site very closely. Which is fair, there are about 10,000 posts a day. However, this isn’t the first post we’ve ever had about food accessibility. We’ve written about food accessibility on Vegansaurus many times, and about healthy school lunches—which affects children with limited options and resources—on multiple occasions. We understand the difference between poverty and college-educated living-on-a-tight-budget.
It bothers us that people consistently use “privilege” as an attack against veganism. Yes, being able to make decisions about your food is a privilege—for this very reason, many people with little options are in fact vegetarian or vegan, by default. But food decisions aren’t the only privilege; caring about and fighting an issue that doesn’t directly affect you is a privilege. Any animal rights activist has the privilege of time and energy to dedicate to helping animals. That, really, is beyond privilege. It’s a responsibility. If you are able to, you should be helping others. If you are able to, you should be vegan.
Honestly, we’ve never had a genuinely poor person say tell us that “being vegan is expensive;” it’s always people in our socio-economic group. We’re not swimming in riches, and maybe even paying rent is hard sometimes, but if you are wealthy enough to live on your own, or even with a few roommates, you are wealthy enough to be vegan. How many times have we heard the argument “WHAT ABOUT KIDS IN AFRICA WHO DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT? ARE YOU GOING TO FORCE THEM TO BE VEGAN?” To which we say A) you totally think Africa is a country, don’t you?; and B) NO, We’re talking about your privileged ass, you cask-ale-drinking jerk.
We recognize that having food choices is privileged; we also realize that having internet access and tumblr accounts and time to write about the things we care about is privileged. Having time to read about the things you care about is a privilege. That’s how we know most people who are reading this post right now have the ability to go vegan—right now.
While you’re at it, you can also work on food sovereignty, and preaching to other liberals who fully understand food deserts about how they’re not liberal enough to understand food deserts in the same complex way that you do. Now get out there and start baking vegan fair-trade organic cupcakes and delivering them on bike to your West Oakland neighbors. We’ll do the same.
This Vegansaurus editorial was brought to you by Meave, Megan and Laura! xoxoxo!
Vote to help Mickaboo win $50k in the Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge! »
Elizabeth of Mickaboo contacted Vegansaurus because Mickaboo needs us! This month’s SF Vegan Bakesale raised money for Mickacoo, but nothing like the $50,000 grant they’re competing to win in the Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge! How can we help? By voting!
You can vote at the site, and by texting 105245 to 73774. The trick is that you can vote both ways once a day, every day, through Monday, Jan. 31. There are lots of projects there for you to check out, competing for different amounts of money, so once you’ve registered (ugh, I know, but GOOD CAUSE) and voted for Mickaboo in the $50k category, check out the site, maybe lend your support to other needy organizations. You might as well, you’re already there.
Elizabeth and all the humans and birds at Mickaboo are super-grateful for your help. For more information, visit Mickaboo online.
Congratulations to the fine volunteers of the East Bay Vegan Bakesale! Thanks to their efforts—and your purchases!—they made $1,300 to give to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and the East Bay Children’s Book Project! Excellent job, everyone! Extra gold star for all the people who brought books for donation as well; you are very lovely, indeed. Imagine a childhood without books! Good work all around. And to whoever made those cakies in the white box there on the left: DANG.
[photo via EBVB!]